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These past few months have been full of excitement at IDEA Public Schools. From the first day of school, to college matriculation, and more; IDEA is immensely proud of the success its students are achieving every day.

But, most importantly, we are committed to ensuring that we’re scaling the success we’ve seen students in the Valley achieve, throughout Texas and in our new regions.

IDEA Public Schools was founded right here in the Valley in 2000. Now, sixteen years later in the RGV, we currently operate 31 schools. Over 2,400 IDEA alumni from the RGV are currently in, or have graduated from, 150 colleges and universities across the country. And since then, IDEA has opened schools in Austin and San Antonio, and by 2022, we plan to operate 173 schools and serve nearly 100,000 students and families.

With new and continued growth scheduled within Texas and beyond, IDEA is responding to the demand for more high-performing public schools, making it the fastest-growing, highest-achieving charter school network in the country.

In order to make this growth a reality, it will take collaborative and focused efforts across communities, partners, and the IDEA team and family.

Most recently, the U.S. Department of Education awarded IDEA Public Schools $11.9 million in grants to support growth and expansion in Texas and Louisiana. This funding will support the creation of 16 schools serving over 12,000 students in IDEA’s new regions of El Paso and Baton Rouge, as well as the existing region of San Antonio, and also enable IDEA to further evaluate its impact on student outcomes, college readiness and teacher and student retention.

“Ensuring that all students have access to an academically challenging and engaging education is critical to preparing them for college and career success,” said U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. “Innovative charter schools are continuously developing new and impactful practices to close achievement gaps and provide all students with the skills and abilities they need to thrive. We are proud to support these efforts along with strong charter school authorizing and accountability, particularly given these grantees’ commitment to communities facing steep academic challenges.”

In the exploration of new regions for IDEA Public Schools, no communities made larger impressions than El Paso, Texas and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In both cities, the achievement gap is starkly present—thousands of students are in need of a quality education. Members of both communities want more quality educational options for their children.

Closing the achievement gap means educating as many students to and through college as possible. The support of the U.S. Department of Education’s Charter Schools Program will help IDEA achieve its goal of educating 100,000 students by 2022. To learn more visit www.ideapublicschools.org